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Letter: Pridgen ought to focus on a new store for city

Pridgen ought to focus on a new store for city

Once upon a time, there was a GEX on Walden Avenue, near Dick Road, in Cheektowaga. It closed decades ago, and then became a sad, rundown flea market for way too long. Soon it will become a new Walmart superstore. The redevelopment of decaying commercial property is extremely welcome. The store will serve the communities of Lancaster, Depew, Cheektowaga and beyond, with extensive retail products, auto service, in-store pharmacy and a much-needed grocery department. This will make many people very happy.

But Darius Pridgen is very unhappy. The Buffalo Common Council president says that if Walmart doesn’t agree to allow NFTA access onto the property, he’ll lead a protest march when it opens. What Pridgen wants is not part of Walmart’s corporate designs. This is a free-standing store, not a mall or an airport that requires public buses to go through the property with a designed stop within.

The State Department of Transportation has planned a signal, crossings and bus stops on both east and west sides. Kmart down the road doesn’t have one. The now gone Wegmans didn’t have one. Other Walmarts in the area do not have them, but Pridgen is outraged that the retailer will not bend to his will.

Maybe he should meet with other civic leaders and convince Walmart that the city can provide a hospitable environment for the world’s largest retailer to locate there. That would be constructive, instead of just complaining.

Michael O’Donnell